Founders are often puzzled by how VCs derive valuations for competitive Series A rounds. A competitive Series A round is an equity round where a company generally raises greater than $5 million led by a top-quartile venture capital firm. During these Series A rounds, it is not uncommon for founders to receive multiple term sheets from lead investors at different valuations, and to feel… Read More
Google I/O begins Thursday, kicking off with the usual keynote from the search giant during which it generally drops a lot of news. We’ll be there to cover it live as it happens, but a lot of info, rumor and speculation has already been making the rounds about just what we’ll see announced. Here’s a round-up of what to expect, what isn’t all that likely, and what might… Read More
With the growing number of large-scale hacks and revelations of government surveillance still fresh on people’s minds, a company called Neone is introducing a way for families and friends to more privately share content, including files, photos, videos and more, with one another without having to rely on the cloud. Instead, with a piece of hardware it’s calling the Neobase… Read More
Amazon has a new crowd-publishing platform called Write On, which is a direct competitor to Wattpad, the social network with self-publishing authors offering up their content for free, and working together with the community to incorporate feedback into their ongoing work. The Amazon version launched last October as an invite-only beta, but now it’s a full-fledged product available to… Read More
You’ve probably seen plenty of products advertised on Facebook, but today the company is announcing a new unit called product ads, with features aimed specifically at helping businesses sell their products.
The big difference is that the ads are dynamically optimized, meaning that the products you see will be tailored based on your activity and interests. Basically, they adapt to show… Read More
Facebook’s Graph Search, the tool that lets you search in plain language across information shared by friends and anyone on Facebook to find stuff like “People who live in my city from my hometown,” or “Friends of friends who like Paula Dean,” or whatever other weird and terrible combination you can dream up, is now available to all users on the platform with U.S. English set as their default language.
Graph search, for those who don’t have it yet, is a pretty fun diversion and an admittedly useful tool in certain contexts (like looking up people you might want to connect with when visiting a new place for the first time, and who might be connected to you in some meaningful way), but it’s also the perfect opportunity for everyone to revisit their privacy settings, especially as Graph Search improvements on the roadmap for future introduction include even more granular capabilities, like parsing individual posts and comments, and becoming available on mobile.
As Facebook itself notes, that means this is when you should be looking at who has access to what in your FB privacy settings, to insure that the unprecedented scope of the new Graph Search tools don’t encroach on territory you’d rather keep private… but the full roll-out of Graph Search also comes alongside the death of one of the features that might be most sorely missed by Facebook users who also happen to be privacy enthusiasts.
Facebook announced back in December that it would be retiring the “who can look up my timeline by name?” setting in the “coming months,” citing very limited use anyway, and the fact that it actually didn’t prevent discovery from other means anyway. What it did was prevent people from seeing you in results if they searched for your name directly in the Facebook Search bar – which, despite their attempt to minimize its importance, was probably something people who didn’t like it very much appreciated being able to turn off.
The official line from Facebook is that “[n]ow that people have had an opportunity to explore [its new privacy controls introduced back in December,] we are starting to retire this setting for the small percentage of people that use it.” But that’s likely to do much to reassure users who aren’t thrilled about Graph Search’s advanced discovery powers to begin with. Still, Facebook has been very upfront about its goals: you don’t build a knowledge graph by defaulting to making your social network as private as possible.
Origami, the new family-focused product from Y Combinator-backed mobile social network Everyme, has now arrived after nearly a year of development. A spin-off of sorts, Origami takes some of the original inspiration behind Everyme – that people are looking for new ways to share outside of larger, more open social networks like Facebook – and tweaks the formula to address the needs of parents and families, specifically.
“What we saw pretty early on was that probably 50 percent of the usage on Everyme is families,” explains Origami co-founder Vibhu Norby. “And that’s 50 percent of total Circles [Everyme’s groups], but in terms of actual usage, it was almost 100 percent of people using it with their families,” he says. “We felt like we found the market, but the product itself wasn’t really intended for that.”
Sustained by its $2.15 million A round, the company has been focused on Origami, a new product build from the ground up, since August 2012. Like Everyme, Origami offers both a web and mobile platform that allows families to connect with each other in a private group, and share photos. But the service goes further, too, offering tools for sharing videos, creating albums, and adding text-based entries for posting stories, recipes, or other notes.
Launched into private beta this February, 90 percent of the families on Origami today are new parents. “They take the most photos, they share the most photos, and they have the biggest desire for privacy,” says Norby. “We really want to work with the parents’ workload – the idea that they take photos all day long, they take a lot of photos on weekends especially, and they don’t have time to share every single photo in real-time. They want to sit down when the kids are in bed, and think about sharing them then,” he says.
With the new service, parents can set up a homepage for their family, and even grab a custom domain which Origami acquires on their behalf. (e.g. “JonesFamily.com,” “JonesFamilyPics.com,” etc.) The site itself, like Everyme, is beautifully designed and simple to understand. Buttons on the right side of the homepage direct users to share a photo, video or story, and another feature called “Family Request” lets users prompt other family members to share photos, videos, or stories of their own.
Another section of the site lets users create photo albums, and allows for import from your computer as well as a number of other photo-sharing sites including Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and SmugMug. These collections can also be shared via email, or back out to Facebook and Twitter.
At launch, Origami also has apps available for iPhone and Android, understanding that not all family members may be using the same mobile platform. Here, users can also post and view the moments and photos albums, plus receive notifications when new content has been added.
The service still has some kinks to work out – not bugs, necessarily, but places where the experience could be a little smoother. For example, if you go to upload from social services, there’s no way to retrieve the photos y0u haven’t already put into albums; it also can’t access those photos you’ve been auto-uploading from your phone to Facebook, Google or Dropbox (the latter two of which are not supported), and in some places on mobile, it’s missing multi-upload. But the product is still in development, and many of these features are still in the works. For example, the multi-upload function is just two weeks away.
Overall, the site fills a niche that many other mobile-only or mobile-first startups have ignored: that parents may want more of fully-fledged social experience, rather that just an app. Often, new parents (and especially moms) turn to standard blogging platforms these days instead of traditional “baby books” to record those early memories, but Origami offers another option for that kind of sharing with a service that falls somewhere in between a Tumblr for parents and a private social network.
Norby says the company’s vision is to re-create the experience of “home,” and that’s something which the real domain names it gives its users’ websites provides. “Facebook is not a home, let’s be honest – it feels like another person’s service,” he says. “[Origami] is private. It’s its own place somewhere on the Internet.”
Origami is not free, but its pricing, like the service itself, is simple. There’s only one tier: after a free 30-day trial, it’s $5 per month (discounted to $50 per year, if billed annually) for unlimited photos, videos, members, and the custom domain.
Really my only problem here is that I have to figure out how to import all the content I have spread out across all those other family-focused and private social services – Path, Notabli, Kidfolio, 23snaps, Tweekaboo, Hubble, Famil.io, Familiar, and others.
Being an early adopting parent can be tough.